Instead, women like Ontario’s Flora Denison and Manitoba’s Nellie McClung used pamphlets, petitions, and performances to bring their cause to the public. Like the temperance movement, suffragists began to achieve their aims during World War I. Cultural Life and Identity Between 1867 and 1914, Canada was only beginning to develop a national identity. While French Canada had its own distinctive history, identity, and culture, the rest of Canada was decidedly British (and Irish). For example, it was almost a quarter-century after Confederation before a Canadian-born prime minister took office (Sir John Abbott, 1891). Canada did not yet have its own flag and the Union Jack flew everywhere. There was no national anthem either. In 1880, Montreal’s Calixa Lavallée wrote the music to “O Canada,” but it was sung only with French lyrics until the early twentieth century, and not officially adopted as the anthem until 1980. Before World War I, Canada was still officially a dominion, a former colony within the British Empire, self-governed with its own parliament. The country was not yet fully independent, and English Canada was only starting to form its own sense of identity. The Arts A distinctive feature of Canada is the size and variety of the natural landscape. Canadian painters focused on the land and rural life as they took the lead in capturing a sense of the young nation. They painted neat, idealized landscapes mostly in a careful portrait style (what you might call “nice” pictures), not in the bold brushstrokes later used by the Group of Seven artists in the 1920s (see Lesson 13). In 1880, the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts, the National Gallery, and the Canadian Society of Graphic Art were all founded to put Canadian art on a solid
Lesson 11, page 14 Canada: History, Identity, and Culture CHI4U-A Copyright © 2008 The Ontario Educational Communications Authority. All rights reserved. footing. In literature, the “Confederation poets” Bliss Carman, Duncan Campbell Scott, and Charles G.D. Roberts captured a sense of the land in verse, as did Roberts’s brilliant protégé, Archibald Lampman, attentive to the subtle changes of light and sound in the summer woods (such as “Solitude,” 1888). E. Pauline Johnson, daughter of a Mohawk chief, was a very popular poet who presented a sense of Aboriginal life to English- speaking audiences. Lacrosse and Hockey Both hockey and lacrosse became popular before World War I. Lacrosse was the name that Jesuit missionary Jean de Brébeuf gave the game in 1636 when he saw the Huron playing it. Aboriginals called the game “baggataway,” meaning “the ball.” Montreal dentist George Beers actively promoted the game, and by 1867 there were 80 amateur teams across Canada. Throughout the twentieth century, lacrosse and hockey became closely connected with Canadian identity. On May 12, 1994, Canada’s National Sports Act became law. It read: “To recognize Hockey as Canada’s National Winter Sport and Lacrosse as Canada’s National Summer Sport.” (Be sure to read the interesting feature about lacrosse on page 320 of the textbook.)
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